Monday, September 23, 2013

Urban Legend (1998)

After all the fawning I did over The Haunting in my last post, I felt like I needed to bring the expectations down a little bit. Enter: the free horror film network on Comcast OnDemand, FEARNET.

I was perusing the selection on Sunday morning, hanging over on the couch after my bff’s wedding Saturday night. The wedding afterparty was at a bar in Pittsburgh’s uptown which meant that in order to get home, we had to take a bus through Pitt and CMU’s campuses. The bus that picked us up was full of college kids and I started chatting with one tiny baby guy about where he’d been that night. He told me he had gone to see some band I’d never heard of and, indignant and drunk (my natural state), I asked him if he’d ever heard of Soundgarden. “Who?” he replied. I was stunned. I started polling the other freshfaced little shits on the bus around us—nothing. Blank stares. One girl was like, “I think I’ve heard of them?” I insisted that each of them download Superunknown and then went home and watched the “Fell on Black Days” video to make myself feel better.

The next morning I just felt like I, you know, wanted to relive the 90’s a little bit. I was hoping to find I Know What You Did Last Summer, but no luck…I had to settle for Urban Legend (1998). If you’ve not seen it or don’t remember it, the premise is that someone is killing college students based on urban legends, a premise so fantastic that it has been done approximately one million times.

Regardless, it actually worked out well for me because this movie is a veritable treasure trove of 90’s celebrities: Jared Leto as the hunky-but-unconvincing student journalist (everyone knows Jordan can’t read), Rebecca Gayheart (who is nearly 30 years old in this movie, and stunningly plays a high school student the following year in Jawbreaker) and her beautiful, beautiful hair as the best friend, that guy from The Mighty Ducks franchise and Dawson’s Creek as the gross rape-y friend, and Tara Reid as the girl with big boobs who talks about sex a lot.

Yes, I felt extremely creepy MS Paint-ing Tara Reid’s boobs. I really did.

The best casting in the whole film is Robert Englund as the folklore professor who teaches the urban legends course. Because who makes a better academic than Freddy Krueger?

Spoiler alert, there are actually no scary scenes in this movie. There are, however, a number of great horror movie clichés such as the completely inept authority figures, the main character’s dark past, the fact that the killer seems to be able to be in several places at once and also to escape death at every turn (two gunshot wounds, a fall from what appears to be a sixth story window, being thrown through a windshield off a bridge into cold murky water and yet, THEY LIVE!) The killer wears a navy blue coat with a fur-lined hood, thus obscuring their face. This must have been a wildly popular style of outwear in the 90’s on New England college campuses because literally every single character has one in their possession at some point in the movie.

The dénouement of the film involves the killer capturing our protagonist during a terrible storm, tying her up, waving a butcher knife around and threatening to exact their favorite urban legend, the kidney heist. That is also my favorite urban legend and the protagonist is completely unlikeable, so I decided to envision a different ending in which the killer wins.


1 comment:

  1. Jason and I LOVE Fearnet and now I am going to go watch Fearnet and hopefully Urban Legend which I totally forgot existed but am super glad you reminded me.